SEC on Sarbox, SMBs and Pay Disclosure Proposals


At Compliance Week's annual conference in Washington, D.C., Securities and Exchange Commissioner Luis Aguilar told attendees that smaller companies should be familiarizing themselves with Sarbanes-Oxley section 404's auditor attestation requirements. The SEC's cost-benefit analysis of Sarbanes-Oxley implementation for small businesses is almost finished, Aguilar said, and the result should be a "more scalable system" of implementation. The implication: Small businesses should get ready for Sarbanes-Oxley 404 compliance.


"My working hypothesis is that it [Sarbox 404(b) compliance] won't be extended, " he said. The commission has extended the 404(b) compliance deadline for small businesses several times already.


As for a merger of the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Aguilar said the odds are slim, but that he does support the idea.


In other SEC news, new chair Mary Schapiro told a Senate subcommittee last week the commission will reveal pay disclosure proposals next month that could extend beyond executives to highest paid non-executives as well. According to Compliance Week, Schapiro's remarks may indicate the commission is reconsidering a provision first proposed in 2006 called the "Katie Couric rule." Though Compensia's Mark Borges may agree that the rule is once again being considered, he doesn't think it addresses "the issue that's bothering people now."


A better approach, in Borges' opinion, would be to require companies to disclose how compensation decisions are made for the entire workforce, as well as how companies mitigate risks associated with compensation.